Recipe: Greek-style leg of lamb

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by Julie Snyder

Leg of LambLamb is non-negotiable at many Greek celebrations. Cook it in the ethnic style with olive oil, spices, and garlic and you'll have a succulent dish sure to be loved by everyone.

Should you start with a boneless or bone-in leg of lamb roast? Many families think the flavor is better when the meat is cooked around the bone.

This recipe may cheat a little. It borrows from one family's great grandma and from the Greek tradition and creates something just a little different. We think you'll enjoy it.

Greek-style leg of lamb

Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 3 to 4 hours | Yield: 12 or more servings


• 1/2 cup tomato sauce or ketchup
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/2 vinegar
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 1 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning
• 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
• 3 tablespoons celery leaf tops
• 1 tablespoon lemon mint, finely chopped
• 8 garlic cloves
• 1 medium onion, cut into eights


Preheat the oven on to 425 F for metal roaster dish or 400 F for a glass baking dish with lid.

Mix the tomato sauce or ketchup, oil and vinegar together with spices. Set aside.

To prepare lamb leg, trim off all visible fat and rinse the meat. When trimming, remove a thin layer of the meat, getting below the elastic layer between the fat and the meat. Skipping this step gives the meat a more "gamey" taste and make it tougher to eat.

Liberally line a roaster pan with heavy duty foil or spray it with non-stick cooking oil and place the lamb in it. Slice 1/2-inch by 1-inch holes in meat where you trimmed out the fat. Insert a garlic clove or an onion section into each hole. Squeeze the lemon juice onto lamb and coat it with the spicy mixture.

Seal the foil around the lamb. Add about 1 inch water to the baking pan. You may need to add more part way through roasting. Bake until a meat thermometer reaches 145 F, about 30 minutes per pound for an 8 pound roast, 35 minutes per pound for 6 pounds leg, 40 minutes per pound for a 3 pound roast.

Remove the lamb roast to a platter and allow it to rest a few minutes before carving. Use the juice to make gravy or to flavor an accompanying dish. We recommend serving with a rice pilaf, traditional Greek salad and Avgolemono lemon egg soup.

Cook's note

You can prepare the roast the night before and marinade in the refrigerator overnight if desired. Otherwise, just slather on the marinate, pop it in the oven and enjoy it in a couple hours.

Although roast at dinner is always excellent, I sometimes enjoy using the leftovers even more. Slice the lamb and make into gyros with tomatoes, onion, tzatziki and feta. Serve them with roast potato wedges and a salad.

How do you use leftover roast?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.